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Big Second Half Fuels TSU Past TTU, 81-68
Friday, January 31, 2014
Big Second Half Fuels TSU Past TTU, 81-68

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee State men’s basketball team outscored Tennessee Tech 45-32 during the second half allowing the Tigers to record their first road victory of the season on Thursday night, 81-68.

TSU (3-21, 2-8 OVC) was paced by Patrick Miller who scored 27 points on 5-of-10 shooting and dished out five assists. The game marks the 22nd time that the senior has led the Tigers in points.

Juniors M.J. Rhett and Jay Harris finished in double-figures as well, pouring in 20 and 11 points, respectively. Rhett also secured a team-high eight rebounds.

Tennessee Tech (10-13, 3-5 OVC) jumped out to an early 7-2 lead during the opening three minutes. Rhett recorded TSU’s first points after a two-handed dunk, but TTU responded with five straight.

The Tigers cut the lead to just one at 14-13 when Chaed Wellian nailed a corner three-pointer off of a nice pass from Jaleel Queary at the 10:17 mark.

Tech later used an 11-2 run to stretch its lead to 30-20 with just over five minutes to go before halftime. TTU scored on five straight possessions, two of which ended in slam dunks.

Miller tied the game at 36 when he nailed his fourth three of the half and the teams played the last 48 seconds all square.

TSU did most of its damage from outside in the opening stanza and was 5-of-10 from behind the arc. TTU meanwhile, dominated the low-post, outscoring the Tigers in the paint, 22-8.

As has been a recurring theme this season, TSU was a completely different team during the second period.

Rhett broke the tie with five-straight points that included a strong dunk over a pair of TTU defenders. His baskets were part of a 14-0 Tiger run that put TSU in front, 50-38.

The Tigers’ defense did not allow a field goal for the first 6:40 of the second half.

With 11 minutes left in the game, Miller put TSU up by 17 at 59-42 with a highlight-reel, one-handed breakaway slam.

The Golden Eagles later picked up their 10th foul with 9:14 left in the game, putting the Tigers in the double-bonus for the remainder of the game.

TSU maintained a big advantage for the remainder of the contest, but TTU got within 10 when Dwan Caldwell hit a pair of free throws at the 1:51 mark.

The Tigers were solid down the stretch and would not allow the Golden Eagles to get within single digits. TSU canned 5-of-6 free throws in the final two minutes, and earned an 81-68 win.

Tennessee State shot 55.6 percent during the second half (10-of-18) and held Tech to an 11-for-29 line (37.9 percent).

The Tigers will take a week off to relish the victory before returning to action at home against Austin Peay on Feb.6. Tip-off for that contest is scheduled for 7 p.m.